Listened The Common Touch, album by Custard by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

The Common Touch is the seventh studio album by Australian alternative rock band Custard “Custard (band)”), released on 6 October 2017 by ABC Music.[1]#citenote-NLACommon-1) It was supported by the singles “In the Grand Scheme of Things (None of This Really Matters)” and “2000 Woman”.

Source: The Common Touch) by Wikipedia

Some albums make you want move, I found The Common Touch a bit more subdued than some of their earlier albums, but it feels like this space gives the opportunities for the hooks and harmonies to really flourish. For me, it is one of those albums that the more I listened, the more I could not help sing along with.

“In the ’90s it was much more of an ongoing concern that we were a professional music group, so you had to constantly think about how to make people interested in you again. How could we get people to our gigs? How do we get songs on the radio? And none of those factors really come into the equation now. Now it’s like, ‘What’s the most interesting songs we can write and record and release?’ “

And there’s no shortage of those on The Common Touch, a varied and focused record that shows the band’s eagerness to move beyond their quirky slacker pop “golden days”.

“This is the first time I sat in my spare room in Bexley and just went, ‘Right, every day I’m going to sit down and make myself available to write songs.’ So for about three or four weeks, five days a week, I’d just sit in the room and make stuff up.”

Source: From the ’90s to now, Custard haven’t lost their common touch by Bronwyn Thompson

Sonically, The Common Touch is a mixture of the old and new. There is the familiar sounds, whether it be the lap steel and acoustic guitar, but there are also new ingredients (or old ingredients given more room), such as female harmonies, piano and harmonica. Interestingly, the mood of the music does not always match the songs.

Reading some of the interviews, one of the contrasts with The Common Touch was the speed it was recorded. Although the initial 30-40 ideas were carved out over weeks, the album itself was recorded on a weekend.

“Glenn also mixed the album and says it’s an old-school 70s retro album. You stick the headphones on at 10:30 at night, just before you go to sleep, and just cruise into it. All will be revealed with headphones – secrets and messages. It’s all very deep, like an onion.”

Source: Interview: Custard’s David McCormack sums up everything that’s ever happened in music with The Common Touch by Tim Byrnes

Tracklist

  1. In the Grand Scheme of Things (McCormack) – As with Come Back, All is Forgiven, The Common Touch too opens with a song beginning from the start. It also sets a similar slow groove. However, this is disrupted with the trumpet / harmonica solo.
  2. Hailey’s Comet (McCormack) – A slow groove reflecting on having a moment while watching Hailey’s Comet. It is another example of a song that tells a story, while captures odd moments.
  3. I’m not Well (McCormack) – This song introduces the big backing vocals, with the ‘ahhhs’ and ‘ohhhhs’ reminded me of Pink Floyd, although the song is not necessarily a Pink Floyd song. It maybe a soul thing, not quite sure. I also wonder how this song would sound mashed up with Tiffany’s I Think Were Along Now.
  4. Princess Highway (McCormack) – The slow beat, strings and lap steel help create a big airy feel that reminds me of Mercury Rev’s ‘Holes’. It creates a bed for McCormack to reflect and reminisce.
  5. Sinking Feeling (McCormack) – The introduction had me thinking of Blondie’s ‘Rapture’. I love the contrast between the driving bass in the verse and the chorus with its sing song lyrics. This is one of those songs that can be construed as both positive and negative, drowning or waving.
  6. You Always Knew (McCormack) – The loose talking lyrics reminded me of Robert Forster the Go-Betweens.
  7. Hands on Fire (G. Thompson) – Thompson with a song that gets your leg tapping away. Reminds me of Methyl Ethel’s talk louder the way in which it locks into the groove, but does not necessarily go anywhere.
  8. Armegeddon (McCormack) – just when you thought Custard could not rock out any more, that they have entered the world of ‘Adult Contemporary’ they crank it up just so you know.
  9. Dr Huxley Creeper (McCormack) – oh yeah and they can play up tempo pieces still too. 
  10. 2000 Woman (McCormack) – This could almost be an LCD Soundsystem song
  11. Police Cars (G. Thompson, Wintah Thompson, Nellie Pollard-Wharton) – The chorus synth reminds me of Bigger Than Tina or Regurgitator. I was left wondering about ‘my’ communism. Interesting how one word can change everything.
  12. Take It From Here (McCormack)
Listened Come Back, All is Forgiven, album by Custard by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Come Back, All is Forgiven is the sixth album by Australian band Custard](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Custard(band)) “Custard (band)”), and their first new material in 16 years. It was released on 6 November 2015 through ABC Music “ABC Music”) on CD, vinyl, and digital.[1]) The album features the classic line-up of David McCormack “David McCormack”), Glenn Thompson](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GlennThompson_(musician)) “Glenn Thompson (musician)”), Paul Medew and Matthew Strong. The songs were tracked at Horses Of Australia Studio on a weekend in February 2015. Overdubs were later added by David at Sonar Studio and Glenn at Horses Of Australia Studio. Glenn mixed it over the following couple of months.[2])

Source: Come Back, All Is Forgiven by Wikipedia


I was recently listening to the All Songs Considered podcast in which Stephen Thompson, Robin Hilton and Daoud Tyler-Ameen reflect on Green Day and their legacy. The question that they grappled with throughout is how does pop-punk grow up? I was left thinking about the same question thinking about Custard and what it means to come back after a hiatus. This is something that Andrew Stafford addresses in his review of Come Back, All is Forgiven:

A comeback record was always going to be a more difficult proposition for Custard than most. That’s because a key part of the band’s appeal was an innocence that often tripped over into a playful sense of anarchy. Their early recordings, especially, are full of the exuberance and abandon that marks one’s late teens and early 20s. And anyone who’s ever grown up knows how difficult that feeling is to recapture.

Source: CUSTARD: COME BACK, ALL IS FORGIVEN -Notes from Pig City by Andrew Stafford

In a conversation with Jamie Lidell, Jon Hopkins said that he wishes that he could ‘choose’ the music he writes. Instead, he argues that we have no choice over what we do, the choice is about what our body gives energy for. All we can do is appreciate the outcome. I thought this was pertinent listening to Custard. Their music often feels a little random, however maybe it is simply the music that their collective bodies gave energy for. Interestingly, this collective energy was actually recorded quickly and managed by Glenn Thompson.

“Glenn is too modest to tell you this, but Glenn recorded, produced and mixed this album,” McCormack says. “All Matthew, Paul and I did was go to his studio for one and a half days to record and then he sweated on it for weeks and months.”

Source: Dave McCormack’s Custard comes back (and all is forgiven)) by Craig Mathieson

Although the various musicians have done various things since Loverama, coming together again it feels that they have a particular sound. As Stafford suggests, things have changed.

Come Back, All Is Forgiven sounds exactly like what it is: four guys in their mid-40s, casually knocking out a bunch of songs most bands half their age would kill for. Just don’t expect to do the Wahooti Fandango to it.

Source: CUSTARD: COME BACK, ALL IS FORGIVEN -Notes from Pig City by Andrew Stafford

Come Back, All is Forgiven begins with a more laidback country rock feel, maybe it is country or western or Custard Goes Country. As is Custard’s way though, they often lull you in before throwing a spanner into the mix, that being the up tempo ‘If You Would Like To’. This stretch allows the album to pivot to ‘1990’s’, a track whose bass and drums groove makes way for a chorus that reminded me of Sonic Youth’s ‘Sunday’. The rest of the album then bounces around. Offering up Thompson’s ode to ‘Contemporary Art’ (“You want something new for your hall? Dude, I only do stuff that’s like 10 metres tall”), the stream of consciousness associated with ‘Queensland University’, and ‘Factual’ which sounds like Jarvis Cocker listening to the Carpenters. (For a different perspective, Leon Bambrick has written a lengthy commentary breaking down each track.)

I like how Craig Mathieson captures the album. Gone is the dream of world conquering success or a big record deal, instead we are left with a ‘welcome visit’:

Despite the title, for Custard the new album isn’t so much a career comeback as a welcome visit

Source: Dave McCormack’s Custard comes back (and all is forgiven)) by Craig Mathieson

Place between Bob Evans and Pulp


Tracklist:

  1. “Orchids in Water” 2:59
  2. “We Are the Parents (Our Parents Warned Us About)” 3:52
  3. “Warren Rd” 2:48
  4. “Record Machine” 3:03
  5. “If You Would Like To” 1:03
  6. “1990’s” 4:52 – Sonic Youth’s ‘Sunday’
  7. “Contemporary Art” 2:27 – Lou Reed / Jonathan Richman
  8. “Queensland University” 2:12
  9. “Rice & Beans” 4:11
  10. “Factual” 5:10 – Jarvis Cocker listening to The Carpenters.
  11. “Get in Your Car” 7:54
Listened Loverama, album by Custard by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Loverama is the fifth studio album by the Australian band Custard “Custard (band)”). It was released in June 1999 and peaked at number 19 on the ARIA Charts; the band’s highest charting album.

Loverama was the band’s final release for 16 years, until 2015’s Come Back, All Is Forgiven. Some copies came as a two-CD set, with the companion disc called Custaro Musico.

Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us) “Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)”)”, “Ringo (I feel Like…)” and “Hit Song” all featured in a Hottest 100, with Girls… in 1998[2] and the other two in 1999.[3]

Source: Loverama by Wikipedia

Recently, when asked about album reviews and music criticism, Caroline Polachek suggested that:

Music criticism is not a review of the album you just made, its a review of your career up to that point. – Caroline Polachek

Source: This Generation’s Caroline Polachek by Switched on Pop

It is a strange experience slowly listening through a bands oeuvre one album at a time, I feel it is impossible by nature of the exercise not to judge each album against the previous. Sometimes I wonder if you start to hear ghosts after awhile. For example, I would find myself making assertions, such as this album is more straight-forward or has a different feel when it comes to instrumentation, only to then question myself as many of the ingredients are present in their earlier work.

It was interesting reading in ‘Preview for Loverama’ in Cuszine 2 that some of these ‘new’ songs were actually old rejects, such as Ringo. This left wondering about the difference made by Magoo as producer. I wondered if that although the same ingredients are present, whether it be distorted guitar, slide guitar, weird effects, quirky lyrics, that it was the placement of the drums and bass in the mix that actually hold these songs together and provide some sort of semblance of continuity? I fear though that if I went back to the past albums I would possibly hear the same pattern, however I feel that with Loverama whenever there is some sort of dalliance with some strange guitar line or even a harmony that it is the rhythm that grounds it all.

The other difference is that although the album is approximately the same length as say We Have the Technology, there are only 13 tracks, while some were instead included on a bonus disc Custaro Musico. I wondered if the extra length allowed the songs more time to hook listeners? Or maybe it is an example of a band that has come to grips with their potential.

Overall, this was the album that really grew on me the more I listened.


Loverama

  1. “Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)” 3:11 – The warble bass used throughout this album reminded me of Bowie. Then I went and re-listened to Bowie and I could not hear it. Funny how when you follow up text-to-text connections that they can make a mockery of our memory.
  2. “Hit Song” 2:22 – Love the comment in Cuszine 2 “Soon Custard will be writing a song about writing songs that are about songs they are trying to write.”
  3. “Monkey” 2:26
  4. “The New Matthew” 4:18 – The chorus really makes this song, the harmonies and the way the guitars really fill out. The ending is only track on the album that goes off in a tangent. I was not sure if this saying something like even with all the new quiet ways, the old remains.
  5. “Ringo (I Feel Like)” 2:50 – Listening to Ringo, I felt it could have been a Disco Machine song. I was also reminded of Twinkle Digitz’ Blackmail Boogie.
  6. “Nervous Breakdance” 3:57 – It is interesting comparing the two versions of this song, this one and the electronic version on Custaro Musico. It highlights how their music could so easily be so different if they had made different choices.
  7. “Funny” 1:57 – classic Custard, the song feels over before it has even started
  8. “Pluto (Pts. 1 & 2)” 2:55 – This song ebbs and flows throughout, I feel it could sit in a playlist alongside Blur, Parklife era, but then again, I could be wrong.
  9. “Almost Like A Song” 3:57 – There is something about the idea of ‘hitting’ you with this song. The wall of distorted guitars and harmonies ‘hit’ you at the same time as the chorus.
  10. “Correctional Facility Of Love” 4:12 – I had no idea what this song was about when I first listened to it. I thought it was implying that being in a relationship was akin to being in jail, until I read that it was based on a Four Corner’s program about prisoners who swallowed objects so they had to be sent to hospital to avoid being raped.
  11. “Genius” 3:47 – Song by Glenn Thompson.
  12. “Kinder Whore” 2:50 – This song is driven by a really strong bass line which I feel prevents it from exploding.
  13. “Ladies And Gentlemen” 3:22 – The big dramatic strums have a Pulp feel. Magoo discusses this in Cuszine 2: “The highlight of recording this song was the violin. We decided to try and make the song as dramatic as possible, to suit the lyric. Strings were talked about and Glenn told me about this guy he knew. John Bone was his name. Everyone I spoke to about this guy said he was amazing. It’s pretty strange when people build someone up to be great You get a picture in you’re head that’s pretty hard to match. Anyway he came to do the track. He didn’t really even want to hear the song before he went in to record it. No one mentioned keys or the vibe required. He just did his thing and It was truly amazing.”

Custaro Musico

  1. “Umlaut” 2:59
  2. “No Te Escribi Ninguna Cancion” 2:18
  3. “Pablo Tiene Novia” 1:53
  4. “Gato De Nueve Colas” 1:14
  5. “Nervoisa Danzarota II” 5:00

Marginalia

Loverama is the fifth studio album by the Australian band Custard “Custard (band)”). It was released in June 1999 and peaked at number 19 on the ARIA Charts; the band’s highest charting album.

Loverama was the band’s final release for 16 years, until 2015’s Come Back, All Is Forgiven. Some copies came as a two-CD set, with the companion disc called Custaro Musico.

Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us) “Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)”)”, “Ringo (I feel Like…)” and “Hit Song” all featured in a Hottest 100, with Girls… in 1998[2] and the other two in 1999.[3]

Source: Loverama%20-%20Wikipedia by

Loverama, the fifth studio album by the renowned Australian band Custard, was released on June 14th, 1999, and marked a significant milestone in their career. The record achieved remarkable success, soaring to new heights and reaching a peak of number 19 on the ARIA Charts. It proudly stands as the band’s highest-charting album to date and has become a beloved favourite among fans.

Source: LOVERAMA%20%26%20%20CUSTARO%20MUSICO by

Recorded and produced by Magoo at The Dirty Room in Brisbane and Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne during the optimistic summer of October and November 1998. Assisted at The Dirty Room by Andrew Lancaster. Assisted at Sing Sing by Dave Davis. Mixed at Sing Sing by Magoo with Glenn Thompson and David McCormack. “We Wanna Party” recorded and mixed at 192 Musgrave Rd, Red Hill, Queensland. Artwork by Glenn Thompson withinterference from David McCormack.

Source: LOVERAMA%20%26%20%20CUSTARO%20MUSICO by

If something’s bad, that’s what they meant to do, it’s them having fun.

Source: Custard%20-%20Loverama%20(album%20review%20)%20%7C%20Sputnikmusic by

I think that this could probably read as “if something seems bad.” I think that you have two choices with Custard, you either accept them and their music and come to respect it for what it is or you do not.


“I was happy to do something that wasn’t as throwaway as some of the other ones [songs on earlier albums],” McCormack said, although he was aware his intentions might not land in the same way for listeners.

“I’m sure everyone else would think it’s an overtly happy and quirky Custard record. But I think for us, we could listen to it and go, ‘ah yeah that’s right, that was fucked when that happened.'”

Source: Classic%20Album%3A%20Custard%20%E2%80%93%20Loverama%20-%20ABC%20listen by

[Correctional Facility of Love] was inspired by a three-part ABC documentary series that revealed the stories of prisoners who would swallow contraptions made with rubber bands and paperclips that would cause terrible internal injuries so they would be taken to hospital, and in doing so, avoid being raped.

As chilling and horrific as that sounds, the fact that people are in a position of having to contemplate such actions is even more disturbing and makes one stop to reflect, something that McCormack explains that the band was ready to explore on Loverama.

Source: Classic%20Album%3A%20Custard%20%E2%80%93%20Loverama%20-%20ABC%20listen by

“It’s that whole realisation that people like The Go-Betweens can have on you,” he said. “On the balance of things, no one wants to hear a happy throwaway song. I don’t really. I wanna hear a sad, melancholy song that you could listen to a few times. That’s something we came to realise and therefore that’s what we wanted to do.”

Source: Classic%20Album%3A%20Custard%20%E2%80%93%20Loverama%20-%20ABC%20listen by

It would seem that there was a choice to include some of their quirky tracks as a bonus disc.

Listened We Have the Technology (Custard) by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

We Have the Technology is the fourth studio album by Australian band Custard. It was released in September 1997. Three singles were lifted from the album, “Nice Bird”, “Anatomically Correct”, which reached #48 in the fifth Hottest 100[1] and “Music Is Crap,” which reached #24 in the sixth Hottest 100.[2] The guitar riff from “Pinball Lez” has subsequently been used in the children’s TV show, Bluey, of which lead singer David McCormack is a cast member.

Growing up, I remember finding a copy of We Have the Technology at Cash Convertors. My guitar teacher was encouraging me to play the surf rock tune ‘Memory Man’ as a part of my Year 12 group music performance. I knew the singles, such as ‘Anatomically Correct’, ‘Nice Bird’ and ‘Music is Crap’ and probably skipped to those on my CD player or computer, but I fear that I never gave the album the patience it probably deserved or needed.

As an album, We Have The Technology seems to continue on from the other albums in forever bouncing between pop, surf, stoner, country and rock. The problem is that at times there were just too many flavours on the plate, balancing between genius, chaos and who cares. Although each track seems to make its own statement in themselves – a change from some of their earlier tracks – they feel like they are contrasted with how they are organised on the album. For example, ‘Scared of Skills’ gives the impression of a rock album, only to pivot to ‘Memory Man’, then quickly followed by ‘Very Biased’. It plays like a child with ADHD ready for their Ritalin.

It is interesting listening and hearing various sounds. At times, I feel like there are similarities to say Blur and their jangly pop. However, I have gone and listened to Pavement’s Wowee Zowee and can hear some of the influences. (Growing up in an era before streaming, it is interesting how some bands simply escaped your radar.) What I feel is probably the case is that I am missing the albums that influenced both bands and albums. Maybe I need to go and listen to Captain Beefheart maybe? Or Jonathan Richman? (Interestingly, in a recent interview for a book on the Velvet Underground, Dylan Jones suggested that Jonathan Richman has been largely forgotten. I would agree with this, until The Go-Betweens, I had not even heard of him.)

I have been left thinking that maybe the best way to describe Custard is ‘seriously silly’. Whimsical songs about guitar cases, alien’s thoughts on music and long roads leading to drugs all seem rather silly, but then I was left wondering if they were any more ridiculous than some songs written using cut up poetry or even say something like Powderfinger’s Double Allergic, another ‘Brisbane’ album released at roughly the same time. I think that Andrew Stafford captures this period best in Pig City with the quote that the band had possibly ‘disappeared up its own arse’:

We Have The Technology caught McCormack in an ornery mood. Heavily under the influence of Pavement’s Wowee Zowee, also made at Easley Studios, McCormack’s songs were growing ever more tangential and self-referential. And consequently, the music – as a review of another Brisbane band had earlier suggested – ‘disappeared up its own arse’.

David McCormack: I remember Eric Drew Feldman sitting me down in some diner saying, ‘Look, you’ve got to have a radio single, you’ve just got to have one . . . Go as crazy as you want, but you need three or four radio songs so the band can keep going, you can’t just ignore that stuff,’ and he was right. But I was just like, ‘No, man, we’re fucking artists!’ It’s maturity . . . If I could go back, there would be a lot of decisions I would make differently.
The release of Thompson’s Music Is Crap as a single in February 1998 painted the band into a corner.

Source: Pig City by Andrew Stafford

Although the same could be said about Powderfinger, at least they provided ‘Pick You Up’ as a somewhat accessible single. Yes ‘Anatomically Correct’ and ‘Nice Bird’ come close to this, but their feels like a refusal to play by the rules as personified by ‘Music is Crap’.

What remains is a certain catchiness that pervades throughout. I was watching Dylan Lewis’ interview with McCormack on Recovery in which McCormack was questioned about being perfectionists. It is interesting to consider the idea of silly music being perfect is sometimes lost, but after a few listens everything feels intentional. (I have had a similar thought listening to TISM.) For example, they never really drag out songs and the only one that they do on We Have the Technology is ‘Very Biased’, when it drifts off into a dream-like state. After listening through a few times, I found that the various hooks and melodies really sink in, often leaving me unintentionally tapping or humming along. Also, thinking about it now, I probably could have covered all the criteria for my group performance playing Custard songs.

Marginalia

Track listing

1. “Scared Of Skill” 1:25 – dirty distorted pop rock
2. “Memory Man” 1:25 – surf Rock instrumental. Same length as the first track. Feels like a statement. This is going to be another ride.
3. “Very Biased” 2:33 – back to rocking out again. Only to then washout like a lingering dream outro.
4. “Anatomically Correct” 2:43 – pop rock, reminds me of blur.
5. “Hello Machine” 2:46 – steel string slide back. I am reminded a little of Gomez, but wonder if one of the things about Custard is that not only do they never seem to settle, but their mix of sounds and genres within the one album is so novel.
6. “Totally Confused” 3:14 – slowed right down and stripped back, with rich harmonies in the chorus.
7. “Piece of Shit” 2:29 – bouncing vibe reminds me of Parklife.
8. “Pinball Lez” 2:22
9. “Sons and Daughters” 2:49
10. “Nice Bird” 3:01 – starts out like a Pixies track
11. “No Rock and Roll Record” 2:49 – self-referential song about being failed artist
12. “Sinatra Theory” 2:54 – the angular meets thr melodic
13. “Schtum” 3:50 – slide guitar back
14. “The Truth About Drugs” 2:39 – this is called the truth about drugs, that maybe that life is boring and mundane.
15. “Music Is Crap” 3:08 – quirky silliness takes everyone down
16. “The Drum” 3:43
17. “Eight Years of Rock and Roll Has Completely Destroyed My Memory*”

Listened Wisenheimer album by Custard by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Wisenheimer is the third studio album by the Australian band Custard. It was released November 6th 1995 and peaked at number 55 in September 1996. The album contains the song “Apartment” which reached #7 in the third Hottest 100.

I wonder how many people came to Wisenheimer, Custard’s third album, after hearing the opening single, Apartment, and were somewhat disappointed? This is the feeling that I get from Lachlan J’s review:

So, my verdict is that Custard’s Wisenheimer is a pretty good album. It’s not great and it doesn’t really capture my imagination in any significant way, but it is quite a bit of fun to let play while I’m driving about the town or doing the housework. It has some rather good tracks on it and it has quite a few rather average tracks, but it doesn’t really have any bad tracks, which is a nice upside. The song-writing is decent and the musicians are competent, but it’s really nothing to write home about, and the scope of music is comfortably broad, but nothing particularly challenging or intriguing. Really this album is just a nicely comfortable piece of work. It doesn’t break any boundaries, but it’s good enough.

Source: Wisenheimer – Custard by Lachlan J

This is something that the band’s manager, Dave Brown, touches on in Andrew Stafford’s Pig City, arguing that Apartment was released too early:

Custard had met keyboard player and producer Eric Feldman while touring in support of another of McCormack’s heroes, former Pixie Frank Black. Feldman had a long list of credits and contacts, and Frank Black himself had been impressed enough by Custard to loan McCormack three of his guitars for the recording of what was to become Wisenheimer. If the album lacked its predecessor’s rambling charm, it also contained some brilliant material (the woozy, beautiful art-rock of Columbus is perhaps Custard’s greatest moment).

The obvious standout, Apartment, was the first single. It was a disappointing choice for Dave Brown, who reasoned that by leading with their best punch, excellent follow-up singles such as Lucky Star and Sunset Strip were rendered anti-climactic after the album’s release in late 1995. Dave Brown:

It’s always my bitch that they released Apartment at the wrong time, and that was the difference between Wisenheimer being a successful album versus a really successful album. It was the first single and it was too good for that, without a doubt in the world. It should have been released second or third; I think that gets proven every time.

Source: Pig City by Andrew Stafford

Comparing the album with Wahooti Fandango, I kept on thinking that having one producer for the whole album, Eric Drew Feldman, made it more consistent, but I feel that is possibly in the ear of the beholder. Maybe, Wisenheimer is less contrasting than Wahooti Fandango, but each track still jumps around between genres, whether it be the angular rock guitar one minute with GooFinder, to leaning back into the country origins with Leisuremaster. There are also strange interludes and extras, such as the saxophone led jam of Cut Lunch or the the excerpt about gold at the end of I Love Television that reminded me of Jim Carey’s monologues on The Weeknd’s Dawn FM.

With the length of tracks, I feel that you never really get to settle as a listener. Even the slower tracks fly on by.  Or maybe like a box of Roses chocolates, this is an album for those who just like eating chocolates, no matter the flavour, but would possibly frustrate those who just like this flavour or that. I wonder this maybe what Damian Cowell was touching upon when he spoke about Custard and anchovies. All in all, it was one of those albums that really benefited from multiple plays.

On a side note, the one thing that I am left intrigued by is how they presented this tapestry of sounds live? The sound often contrasts between a wall of sound and more subtle sounds. When I saw McCormick live playing acoustically, it felt like the tracks were chosen because they fitted the bill, with the only track that felt like it did not fit was Girls, but nobody cared. However, thinking about it now, I wonder if McCormick / Custard could in fact play a number of different sets that would cater for different audiences? I have searched YouTube in the vain hope of finding an old concert, but all I can find is them performing Apartment.

Listened CUSTARD WAHOOTI FANDANGO : CUSTARD : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive from Internet Archive

CUSTARDS 2ND ALBUM

Wahooti Fandango is Custard’s second album, excluding Brisbane 1990-1993. It was produced by Simon Holmes, Wayne Connolly and Bob Moore, and was released in 1994.

There is something joyfully chaotic about this album, where various ideas are pasted together to somehow find some semblance of coherence. Although drums, bass and guitar are always central, there are also a plethora of other instruments that fill out the sound, whether it be piano, keyboard, slide guitar and trumpet.

One of the things that stood out listening to the album is that it feels like each song is somehow in contrast with itself. For example, with Teensville, it is the country verse contrasted with pop-punk choruses. With Aloha Tambourinist it is the distorted guitars wanting to exploded contrasted with the pedal steel guitar. With Pack Yr Suitcases the odd time signature is contrasted with the wacky whistles and sounds. With Dix TV, the solid bass line driving the song is contrasted by the distorted wah wah guitar. With Alone, the uplifting music is contrasted by the celebration of being alone. With Looking for Someone the pop sentiment is contrasted with the noise in the interlude. With Say it the angular guitars are contrasted with the more acoustic sounds of the trumpet and piano, only to end with some strange mock announcement. With Melody the songs opening wall of sound soon gives way to country rock that has Tom Petty feel. With Fantastic Plastic, the song feels like it gets faster and faster, before abruptly finishing. With Singlette, a slick groove contrasted by the chorus. With If Yr Famous And You Know It, Sack Yr Band there is a contrast between the serious and light-hearted at the same time. With Universal Vibration the distorted guitar is again in contrast with the clean piano. With Badloving, the low chords contrast with high licks. This balance maybe the case with a lot of music, or somewhat contrived, but it feels more pronounced with Custard. I like how this is capture on Wikipedia:

Drawing on a vast array of influences (from the art-rock of Pere Ubu, Devo and Sonic Youth to country ballads and big band swing), Custard’s casual, whimsical approach to their own music often masks the degree of craft underlying songs.[2]

Source: Wahooti%20Fandango%20-%20Wikipedia by

I will leave the final comment to the only review I could find for this album:

These guys always seemed to be having a ball, but in a laidback, whacky uncle sort of way. The songs either rush at you smiling gleefully, or just sit around spinning slightly confusing tales that make you giggle (or shake your head in embarrassment). Imagine Pavement channeling Jonathan Richman.

Source: 198.%20Custard%20%E2%80%93%20%E2%80%9CWahooti%20Fandango%E2%80%9D by @DrSamma

Track list

  1. “Teensville” 1:27
  2. “Aloha Tambourinist” 2:25
  3. “Pack Yr Suitcases” 2:16
  4. “Dix TV” 4:10
  5. “Alone” 2:43
  6. “Looking For Someone” 2:22
  7. “Say It” 3:04
  8. “Melody” 2:19
  9. “Fantastic Plastic” 1:02
  10. “Singlette” 3:06
  11. “If Yr Famous And You Know It, Sack Yr Band” 2:38
  12. “Bye Bye Birdie” 2:21
  13. “Universal Vibration” 1:48
  14. “Badloving” 3:38
  15. “The Wahooti Fandango” 3:03
Listened CUSTARD BRISBANE 1990-1993 COMPILATION : CUSTARD : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive from Internet Archive

COMPILATION ALBUM COMPRISING EP’S FROM GASTANKED AND BRISBANE.

Brisbane 1990–1993 is a compilation of the two early 1990s EPs by the Australian band Custard, Gastanked and Brisbane.

Wikipedia lists Magoo as ‘the producer’. Instead the album booklet lists the band as the producer of Bedford (a song that was originally recorded on Bedford / Buttercup), Wayne Connolly for the rest of the tracks off the Gastanked EP and Robert Moore the producer for the tracks from the Brisbane EP.

Booklet

Maybe all music is borrowed, whether it be from other artists or styles, but I feel that Custard take it next level. As soon as you think a song will be one thing, something unexpectedly disrupts this. For exmaple, the noise of the opening track, Edie, the chorus feels like it could be from a Tumbleweed song only then to be shattered by the boppy bassline in the verse; he slide guitar in Bedford contrasts with the fuzz guitar; the moving bassline of I Just Want To Be With You feels reminiscent of Jackson Five; Nightmare Two paradies the heavy riff rock; while Weirdo always feels like it is always one chord away from exploding.

Listening, I was left wondering about inspiration. I could here the influence of college rock, but they definitely stand in contrast to the early 90’s grunge rock.

These songs capture Custard in lo-fi during the period when they were a group of Pavement fans writing quirky but straightforward love songs like “I Just Want to Be with You” and “Edie,” which has two chords — E and D. David McCormack‘s excitable little-boy tone can be heard taking shape while he sings oddball lyrics like “I had too much to dream last night” in “Satellite,” his rewrite of “Goodnight, Irene.” The self-descriptive “Short Pop Song,” which manages to cram in three tunes’ worth of material despite its 1:14 running time, shows the way toward later reflexive efforts like “Hit Song.” Although they’ve obviously been listening to the Pixies as well as Pavement, unlike many other bands of the ’90s they studiously avoided the Seattle sound, preferring to indulge in pop hooks and resolute cheerfulness.

Source: Brisbane 1990-1993 Review – AllMusic by Jody Macgregor

Listened CUSTARD BUTTERCUP (BEDFORD) : CUSTARD : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive from Internet Archive

Album ripped from CD in .WAV format.CD, artwork & booklet scanned at 1200DPI.In 1992, Custard released their first self-published album titled…

I remember reading about COW (Country or Western) featuring Dave McCormack, Glenn Thompson and Robert Moore, in Andrew Stafford’s book about the Brisbane music scene, Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden.

COW was far more than the in-joke their name suggested. Intending to score a hotel residency where they could have some fun, a few drinks and pick up a little extra cash at the end of the night, the band could indeed play country ‘or’ western, albeit with a knowing smirk. But such was the improvisational flair and natural showmanship of the musicians – McCormack in particular was becoming a formidable guitarist, distilling influences from Tom Waits’ sideman Marc Ribot to the Pixies’ Joey Santiago – that COW’s scope was almost limitless.

SOURCE: Andrew Stafford – Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden

Having played on Robert Forster’s Calling from a Country Phone, Moore had imagined COW as more than a band, but a ‘musical collective’.

Robert Moore had imagined COW as a musical collective similar to the Wild Bunch behind the first Massive Attack album, where a virtual reserve bench of musicians would be on call to play gigs or recordings. Often the band would be joined on stage by backing vocalists the Sirloin Sisters, twins Maureen and Suzie Hansen; at other times, former Go-Between John Willsteed and occasional Queensland Symphony Orchestra violinist John Bone would jump up to add their own flourishes.

SOURCE: Andrew Stafford – Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden

Coming to Bedford / Buttercup, I was left wondering where the country inspiration was. Although there are moments, say on the samples and licks on Fuming Out, but instead the album felt to me like jangly pop on speed. The fact that the album does not go much beyond 30 minutes with 11 tracks highlights this. In Andrew Stafford – Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden, Stafford includes a quote from from McCormick about the use of speed:

David McCormack: That’s when the drugs really came into play, around that time . . . In 1988–89 it was all speed, acid, ecstasy had just hit. And because we had nothing to do – we’d basically finished our degrees and were on the dole, and we were white middle-class kids from Kenmore – we could just get out of it forever. That’s why Who’s Gerald? broke up. We’d be speeding for days on end.

SOURCE: Andrew Stafford – Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden

One of the odd things about jumping into a focus on a band/artist is that it creates the conditions for different listening. With Buttercup/Bedford, I could not help make comparisons, whether it be:

  • Anna Lucia’s nod to The Pixies’ Debaser.
  • The British influences behind Delerious/I Live By The River.
  • The jingle jangle of the Go-Betweens throughout.

I wonder if these ideas are actually beyond that. The initial links are with the obvious, but somehow the true inspiration is outside of our reach. Stafford makes mention of the influence of Jonathan Richman.

Like Robert Forster, David McCormack had drawn considerable early inspiration from the suburban obsessions of Jonathan Richman.

David McCormack: I was at John Swingle’s house, he was in the Melniks, and he said you’ve got to hear this . . . He played me Roadrunner and Government Centre and it just blew my mind, it was one of those life-changing experiences. Because up until then I was listening to Devo and Kraftwerk, stuff like that, which is all very alienated, but it’s not really Brisbane. Brisbane’s too hot for that!

SOURCE: Andrew Stafford – Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden

Personally, I have not really listened to much of Richman’s work, even after my dive into The Go-Betweens. It leaves me thinking that maybe that although ideas often have origins and references, that these are not always present. Reading Paul Carter’s Dark Writings, I cannot help but wonder if the influences are beneath the line retraced:

The line is always the trace of earlier lines. However perfectly it copies what went before, the very act of retracing it represents a new departure.
To think the line differently is not only to read — and draw — maps and plans in a new way. It is to think differently about history. To materialize the act of representation is to appreciate that the performances of everyday life can themselves produce historical change.

SOURCE: Paul Carter – Dark Writing: Geography, Performance, Design

One of the oddities of the record are the inconsistences when it comes to the vocals. There is a lot made of Australian Academy of Music’s Encouragement Award prize of $500 recording time and how the band quickly recorded about 13 songs in eight hours, marking Buttercup / Bedford. However, looking at the booklet, I assume that this was the session in October 1990.

Booklet

On first listen, I thought that tracks 4-10 was someone other than McCormick singing. However, looking at the booklet, clearly not. I am not sure if in the year between recording the initial tracks and the later tracks, McCormick had developed and changed or it was in the quality of the recording.